Pro Audio Files Logo Pro Audio Files

Elevate Your Ears Become a Member

How to Create a Tambourine Loop from One Shot Samples

How to Create a Tambourine Loop from One Shot Samples
How to Create a Tambourine Loop from One Shot Samples
Hey, what’s up guys. David Glenn of and, home of the free VIP mix training bundle. If you haven’t done so yet, click the link in the description below. It’ll take you to my website where you can sign up for the mailing list and gain access to a ton of free stuff, including two sets of multi-tracks, a whole slew of impulse responses, a couple of video courses, and more. Get you on the list, tons of free content coming your way.

In this video I’m going to show you how I took these four one-shot tambourine samples, and turn them into a fitting tambourine loop that took the course of this song to the next level. Here’s a sample of what they sounded like before.

[tambourine plays]

Cool. Pretty straight forward tam sounds. Then I threw some processing on, and created this loop that by itself may not be world changing here, but in the mix it sounds really great.

So here’s this by itself.

[tambourine plays]

Okay. I didn’t have a tambourine nearby. I was feeling creative, so I pulled in these four loops, and I’m going to walk you through the processing.

So the first thing is, I already consolidated this, so shame on me, but these – let’s focus in on this first hit here, because I did the same thing for the first two tambourine one-shots. This selection right here, and the next selection. Those two are the exact same hit, except what I did is I broke them apart. They were one shots, so I put them on the grid, and just treated them differently with clip gain.

So, for the first one, let’s put that back and show you what I did. All I did was I brought that down like, seven or eight dB. So that is the exact same thing as that, and it creates a difference in the velocity – kind of a fake velocity – but the dynamics. Soft hit, big hit, soft hit, big hit.

It goes throughout the track. Same thing for this one right here. If I solo…

[tambourine plays]

Okay. It’s the exact same one shot, but it sounds a little bit different because the velocity, or the volume, is slightly different. And then the same back for this one.

[tambourine plays]

Okay. When you shake a tambourine, you’re not going to hit it the exact same every time. If you do, it probably wouldn’t sound that great.


So a little bit of human feel to those two samples. Then I’ve got them on the grid. Next up, I want to show you how I took these two from sounding like this…

[tambourines play]

Pretty stale, right? To sounding like this.

[tambourines play]

Okay. And if I wasn’t lazy, I probably could’ve gone in and done the same thing with clip gain and created a multi-layered, multi-velocity volume loop out of those, but I wanted those particular tambourines to sit on top of the mix, so in the mix, you don’t feel them that stale.

Let me actually play the mix here.

[song plays]

Okay. It’s a little bit low in volume, but if I pull that up a tad, I’m going to start playback with the tambourine in, and then I’m going to mute it, and listen to how it just kind of changes the song completely.

[song plays, tambourine in, then out]

It’s crazy how much of a difference that makes. My buddy Graham has a video I think he did months ago where he took – I think he called it the cheapest improvement you can make to your mix or something like that – where he took a tambourine and showed arranging it in a track, and how much of a difference a $20 tambourine can make. It’s absolutely awesome.

So, in this case, I didn’t record the tambourine, I created it, but I want to show you quickly the settings for this.

The first two plug-ins here on the chain are Alloy 2, and it keeps doing this to me. It goes into demo mode or something and then fixes itself… Anyways, I’m pulling out attack, and I’m pulling out release, because it just sounded too fake, and I wanted to control that. I didn’t want it to be too sustainey, but I didn’t want the level to change, so it’s kind of a complementary thing.

The Devil-Loc here where I’m crushing it to keep it on top, but I didn’t necessarily like the sustain. I liked the level being on top, but not the crunch and sustain that it added. So I added the Alloy 2, where I cut the sustain and attack, and let me show you the difference between that. Let’s just solo these two here.


Here’s without Alloy 2, then I’ll put it back in.

[tambourine plays without and with Alloy 2]

Okay. I didn’t want the attack on these, I wanted the ringing and the movement to come from this tambourine. The first two tambourine one shots are where I’m getting the hit off and letting that be a little more human.

So the two right here, I wanted them to be less attack, and have a little bit less sustain than what the original sample had. The real magic for this comes with a stock delay plug-in. I’ve got the Mod Delay III here from Avid, and I’ve got 27% wet on both sides, and the only thing that I did was put it at a 16th note with a little bit of groove. I threw it to 3%. It changes it quite a bit. More than I thought it would.

But I messed around with the groove, found a nice sweet spot for that. Again, here’s without the delay. Let me see – the feedback is set to ring pretty good.

[tambourine plays without delay, then with delay]

Alright. Pretty boring. But there’s a little bit of groove. We’ve got a pretty sweet tambourine sound going.

Then Alloy 2 on the back end. I still felt like I needed less attack for these, so I did it in stages. I feel like if you go in and just pull the attack way out, it kind of morphs the sound to this weird thing, but if you do it in stages, I find that it works better. Kind of like with compression.

Anyways, so there’s that, and then to get it to sit in the mix, I boosted a little bit of the upper-mids, and took out a little bit of the sizzle that was happening to help blend it in the track a little bit better.

But I’m all over the place. Hopefully you’re following and you dig the creative spark that was my one-shot tambourine trick here. Let me select this and bypass everything.

Here is it in the mix without the processing.

[tambourine plays]

[song plays]

Very cool. I know there’s Apple Loops, I know there’s tons of sample libraries out there. I actually own a huge percussion sample library, and I was looking for it before I just created this, but hey, this is fun, you know?

So get creative, take those one-shots, do some cool stuff with it, get your delays rocking, and I hope you picked something up for that.

Sorry I rambled and was all over the place a little bit for this one, but we’ll catch you soon, tons more to come from

Thanks again, guys!


David Glenn

David Glenn is a producer/engineer/musician based out of Orlando, FL. Credits include: Pablo Villatoro, Blanca Callahan (Group 1 Crew), Aimee Allen, and more. Learn more and get in touch at